Saturday, April 17, 2010

Proposed Rule Changes Bring Pro Skiers Together

In the last week, significant chatter was detected throughout my email box regarding a proposal to change the course dimensions to make Slalom Skiing more exciting. I know... you're thinking "How can slalom be even more exciting than it is already?" This seems like the response by most pros copied on the email list.

What's interesting here isn't the content of the new rule proposal, which will never pass a vote. The interesting thing is that it actually prompted a lot of discussion from pros like Chris Rossi, Marcus Brown, Will Asher, Rhoni Barton-Bischoff, Carly Clifton, Jaret Llewellyen, Seth Stisher, Jamie Beauchesne, Brian Kinney, Chris Sulivan, Whitney McClintock, Dan Odvarko, Aaron Larkin, and Kate Adriaensen.

In the past, mass email discussions like this as well as forum-based discussion for water ski pros only have fallen short of their goal. In the past, dialog was not created, few responses were seen, and generally no headway has been made.

With the suggestions made by pro skiers in the last week, it does look like there is positive energy out there to help us move our sport in the right direction. The overwhelming consensus is that this proposed rule change would not be helpful -- but it's great to see the people at the top of our sport putting in their two cents to help us all move in the right direction.

Slalom - New Rule Proposal:

14.07: General
The Men's final round shall start at the 14.25m pass and the Women's final pass shall start at the 16m pass unless changed by the Event Judges (See above)

Short version:
The first pass can be freely chosen. The second pass has to be 10,75m for men and 11,25m for women. If completing the 2nd pass the further shortenings stay the same (10,25m and 9,75m). If 2 or more skiers have the same score at 10,75m than the one who started with the shorter rope has the higher final score. (e.g. skier 1 starts at 13m pass, then runs 3 at 10,75m. skier 2 starts at 12m pass and also runs 3 at 10,75m. skier 2 has a better score than skier 1. no tie!)

Men's rounds shall start maximally at the 14.25m pass, Women's pass shall start maximally at the 16m pass unless changed by the Event Judges (See above)

The first pass can be chosen shorter than 14,25m. Second pass must be completed at 10,75m (12m national) for men and 11,25m (13m national) for women. Everyone who runs their first pass may continue at the second pass. If the second pass is completed with all 6 buoys than the skiers continue as before - standard shortenings. The number of buoys from 14,25m are counted, if 2 or more skiers have equal scores the one who started shorter has the bigger score.

Qualification/Rating events:
Qualifications/Ratings are only valid, if the previous pass got finished completely with exactly one speed lower or exactly one line longer. (e.g. if a skier gets 4 at 10,75m it only counts as qualification/rating if the skier completed 11,25m pass before.) During pure qualification events maximally 3 passes may be run, the first can be selected as warm-up.

Overall: (Suggestion)

The second passage should correspond the fifth after the starting speed. The buoys driven in the second passage get multiplied by the number of omitted passages plus one. Example: startspeed 13m, 12m and 11,25m are omitted, 3 devoted at 10,75m, that means 3x3=9 buoys, in addition the reached to 13m.

the tournament will become a lot shorter (less time & gas, more interesting to watch)
there will be less ties the tournament will be more interesting for people to watch and it will be clearer who wins the best one wins nevertheless


Chris Sullivan:

"Slalom skiing IS waterskiing. It is the most pure form of the sport. It is what waterski company's sales and existence are based on. Tournament skiing drives recreational skiing with mystical stories of amazing slalom sking and Tournament Champions. Changing the course changes nothing. If anything, we need to figure out how to relate to the spectator in a more simple manner what is currently happening. We can do a better job of simplifying the explanation. Speak in laymans terms. Slalom is ultimately very simple. The person who makes the most turns at the shortest rope wins."

Aaron Larkin:

"I am completely against this new proposal! We need to continue show casing the athletes ability, power and finesse it takes to run 10.75/25, NOT 13 meters! As the years have gone by it is apparent that more athletes have learn't how to run short line at the highest level, surely this increased level of close competition makes the events more exciting. Along with different format's (head to head, last man standing etc) and closer spectator interaction (Moomba sites), I believe this is the right direction for packaging our sport as an entertaining event."

Will Asher:

"I am pleased to see a lot of people rallying around this discussion, and presenting good ideas.

I am a Fan of restricting all skiers to 4 Passes, start at 15off 32 mph if you want, miss as many passes as you want, the bottom line, everyone gets 4 passes. The winner, is the skier making the most buoys at the shortest line, I think everyone would agree there are sites 32mph/15off is a very viable option! This format would give the Announcers a lot to talk about, strategy, personal strengths etc"

Seth Stisher:

"Thanks for giving us all the opportunity to weigh in. Quite simply I am amazed that someone really proposed this. Aside from (as someone mentioned) castrating slalom and dumbing it down (which is definitely the affect this would have) what does any of this have to do with making slalom better for spectators...? I will save my thoughts for later discussions, but wanted to say I strongly disagree and I think some of the points that have been mentioned in this barrage of emails are great."


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